Violeta looked in the mirror and smiled. Today was a wonderful day, not merely because she was celebrating the anniversary of her birth but because today marked the day she could begin to go wherever and do whatever she wished. Yes, her twenty-first birthday signified her liberation from chaperones, enduring long walks with her mother who liked to ensure she was never left to be idle, and suffering hours of education in the form of lectures given by stern, uninteresting Mrs Pallet who seemed to her to have no sense of fun whatsoever, nor even a vague notion of what fun might be.
Today would mark her independence, her reliability (in the eyes of her subjects), and finally, her maturity.
"Come, Violeta," called the lyrical voice of her mother, ending her reverie.
Violeta stood, admiring her dress for two seconds before demurely joining her mother at the foot of the staircase which was the centrepiece of the hall on entrance and quietly asking "Yes, Mother?"
Violeta had great respect for her mother (despite the long walks): so kind and slow to judge as she was. She was a tall, slender lady and Violeta was glad her figure had developed to mirror hers rather than resemble Father's slight roundness. Like her mother, she had long black hair, though hers fell in waves whereas her own was as straight as if she had ironed it. Another difference was that her mother's eyes were a striking deep blue.
"My, you look beautiful," said Queen Mariana, smiling at her daughter.
"Thank you, Mother," said Violeta, blushing.
Her mother was right (though Violeta would not admit this for reasons of modesty and due to the unattractiveness of vanity in a princess). In a full-length indigo satin ball gown without straps, Violeta looked stunning. The hue of the dress suited the colour of her hair and set her pale skin and bright eyes in contrast, thus emphasising them and giving her features a slight delicacy so that she might appear to be finding herself engulfed by a dark, soulless ocean. A noble man would want to rescue her if he saw here but also enter into the mysterious world the princess lived in - for the effect of the dress was twofold. As well as fragile and vulnerable, Violeta looked like she could be a powerful queen, while if she wore an appropriate expression, she could be enticing and maybe even slightly haunting, lingering in the corners of men's minds until they became insane and rushed to the palace to implore her to marry her.
Violeta thought it was all great fun to capture a man's heart, provided they were a decent sort who knew how to treat a woman. Little did she know that today she would meet Prince Robert: that character whom her parents wished her to marry...